I’d got to a stage where I was foggy, groggy, lethargic and ratty, no it wasn’t PMT, these are all symptoms of the effects of wheat consumption, and there are many more besides. The absolute havoc that the wheat protein gluten plays with our health, so much so that it is said to be instrumental in causing ailments such as diabetes, type 1 and 2, IBS, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and many more, you’d think that we’d avoid it like the plague. So much conflicting advice, much of it funded in one way or another by the wheat industry, has confused us all.
I’ve been a wheat eater my whole life, bread, cakes, biscuits, cereal, more bread and a little bit of toast in there too. Whole grains are part of a healthy diet or so we are led to believe, but did you know that wheat, and not just the soft, glistening fluffy white stuff, increases blood sugar as much as table sugar?
Wheat has been the main ingredient of my diet since my mother weaned me off the boob all those many years ago. It was my breakfast, lunch, dinner and evening snack (which was called supper in our house and was usually bread and jam).
That’s why it was so hard for me to give it up. I struggled at first, before I really knew why I was doing it. Back then I’d read snippets of information that wheat was not particularly good for you. Health experts in UK and in the US advocated very strongly that if we give up wheat we’ll be so much the healthier for it. So I tried it. It didn’t go well.
I decided that the first step was to try to replace wheat with oats and rye. These still both contain gluten, the damaging protein in wheat but not in nearly the same quantities. Rye bread was foul, like eating the odour eaters of a 30-stone soap dodger. Oat cakes weren’t too bad, if spread liberally with hummus or cashew butter. They don’t, by any means, taste as good as hot buttered toast and marmite.
The cakes and biscuits were a bit easier to cut down on. I just needed to get used to not stuffing custard crèmes down my throat at every opportunity. Pasta was tricky as my boys love it and we have it at least twice a week in our house. Avoiding breakfast cereals was a doddle as I didn’t eat them anyway and I limit them to weekends only for my sons, because of the sugar content.
So, bread and toast were my weakness, my kryptonite, and the more I resolved not to have it, the more I wanted it. It was almost physically painful. So in a fit of rage at the injustice of denying myself something I so loved, I surrendered and went back to bread and marmite in the mornings. The guilt hit me like a tonne of house bricks. Then I read a book. It was called Wheat Belly.
My (pathetic excuse for) resolve strengthened with every word I read, especially when the author, Dr Davis explained about how modern day wheat affects our insulin levels and how this helps us to retain fat, and so I decided to quit again. For the first couple of weeks it was difficult but the words in the book echoed around my head whenever the smell of hot buttered toast threatened to tempt me with its evil ways. I’ve now been steadily reducing wheat in my diet for about 6 weeks. The changes are astounding, truly. I’ve lost weight, not loads but slowly, steadily looking and feeling trimmer. I no longer have fuzzy brain, no longer need a nap after lunch and have more energy that I know what to do with.